Next stop for senior Laurits: Olympic gold?
There is more to senior Brian Laurits than meets the eye. Aside from his illustrious career as one of Bowdoin's most valuable members of the Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Teams, Laurits has aspirations to be a U.S. Olympian in skeleton, a lesser-known sport similar to bobsledding. Skeleton requires its athletes to slide down an ice track at exhilarating and dangerous speeds.
However, unlike other similar sports, in skeleton, athletes cruise down face first, with their chin only an inch from the ice. Called "sliding," riding a skeleton is not your average past time at Bowdoin.
Laurits laughed as he explained the base of his interest in the rare sport. "I have always been obsessed with bobsledding," he said, "and during the most recent Olympics I sent the U.S. team an email. I never heard back, but eventually I got an email announcing bobsledding tryouts in my area. I attended the tryouts and, because of my size, was recommended for skeleton."
Laurits is from Wakefield, Massachusetts, where he got his start in a more well-known sport, track and field. A standout at Wakefield High School, Laurits graduated holding seven records for his school, as well as one state-class record in the indoor 300-meter race. He applied to Bowdoin early decision, and once he got in he never looked back.
"Freshman year was awesome. I loved my roommates, and still live with one of them," he said. "The track team was really accepting, it was a very easy adjustment for me."
Laurits has excelled in track all four years here and credits the sport for his ability to balance his busy schedule.
"The time commitment helps me make sense of my day," he explained. "It makes me more efficient, and forces me to have discipline in many facets of my life."
His favorite event is the 400-meter relay, which he shares with three good friends. Describing track as "the most nerve-wracking sport," Laurits takes comfort in the camaraderie of his relay team members.
"I never get that nervous for the relay; it is the last event of the day and all of the guys are on the same page," he said. "We get really excited and have fun with it. Individual events, however, are the ones that will get you."
Laurits described the intense nerves he struggles with on the day of a meet, but laughed as he realized "I get so tense for only 50 seconds of my life!"
Laurits is moving from the winter track season to the spring season with a lot to live up to: his relay team finished eighth in the NCAA National Championships held in Wisconsin over spring break, earning them an All-American title. Hopefully for Laurits, however, his athletic accolades will not end with his graduation from Bowdoin.
"I am moving to Lake Placid after I graduate to train with the U.S. Bobsledding and Skeleton Federation," he explained. "The National Team tryouts are next year, so I need to train until then."
Along with looking for a job that will allow him to feed his addiction to speed, Laurits is also looking for romance. "Know any interested girls?" he asked. "I don't like the beach, but I'd be interested in long walks on the Quad."
Unfortunately there are no home track meets this spring, but for any interested women out there, you can catch Laurits just a short drive away at Bates on April 17 running his heart out in the state meet.
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